How to Select a Medical Assistant School Program near Inglewood California
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the rewarding profession of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Inglewood CA, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of future students begin by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important issues as well. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have furnished several questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But prior to starting that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Role of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Basically their job is ensure that the Inglewood CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care centers where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the type or size of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are tasked with providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners but may also be found performing duties at the front desk or in an office. Some of the many responsibilities of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While medical assistants can perform almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some elect to specialize in a specific area and earn certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs
Unlike most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Inglewood CA health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally 2 choices provided for a formal education. The first and shortest route to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs generally take about one year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the basics of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs provided at junior and community colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more expansive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They usually have a practical element involving an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Schools
There are many accredited medical assistant programs accessible online also. They are a good alternative for those who may not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, many online programs have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus options. Ancillary expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can typically be carried out in Inglewood CA area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of attending supervised classes on-campus, then this approach to receiving your education might be the ideal option for you. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, certification is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent choice for those who wish to boost their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining a job after graduation, but it can also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Inglewood CA medical employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not received certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will graduate within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Prior to reviewing your medical assistant school options, you have to determine which kind of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus or online from home. After those selections have been made, you can begin the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, some potential students restrict their searches to the schools that are closest to Inglewood CA with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are several additional issues that you need to look at when evaluating schools. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are thinking about before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to verify that the college you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you must enroll in an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of prospective Inglewood CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the School’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To begin with, you must determine which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then of course you will want to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we covered earlier, there are generally two routes to acquiring medical assistant training. You can select a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can opt to acquire an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require about two years to complete in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are considering provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant schools offer internship programs with Inglewood CA area medical care providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on clinical training and experience. They may also help students develop relationships within the Inglewood health care community. And as an additional benefit, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some help from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are evaluating provide job placement assistance in the Inglewood CA area and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size might be an indication of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to provide greater access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before choosing a college to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you plan on attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Inglewood CA, confirm that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online school, but you will still have to schedule any internships or clinical training that may be required. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Inglewood California?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Inglewood CA area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Inglewood is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 109,673. It was incorporated on February 14, 1908. The city is in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County.Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park is currently under construction in the city and, when completed around 2020, will be the new home of both the National Football League's Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. The city is also close to Los Angeles International Airport.
The earliest residents of what is now Inglewood were Native Americans who used the natural springs in today's Edward Vincent Jr. Park (known for most of its history as Centinela Park). Local historian Gladys Waddingham wrote that these springs took the name Centinela from the hills that rose gradually around them and which allowed ranchers to watch over their herds "(thus the name centinelas or sentinels)".:unpaged [xiv]
Waddingham traced the written history of Inglewood back to the original settlers of Los Angeles in 1781, one of whom was the Spanish soldier Jose Manuel Orchado Machado, "a 23-year-old muleteer from Los Alamos in Sinaloa". These settlers, she wrote, were ordered by the officials of the San Gabriel Mission "to graze their animals on the ocean side of Los Angeles in order not to infringe on Mission lands." As a result, the settlers, or pobladores, drove some of their cattle to the "lush pasture lands near Centinela Springs," and the first construction there was done by one Ygnacio Avila, who received a permit in 1822 to build a "corral and hut for his herders.":unpaged [xiv]
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Inglewood CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant college that will provide the proper training. Regardless if you’re goal is to begin a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges providing training nowadays that you can make a decision based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification exam. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Definition. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the right program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Inglewood CA.
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